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Vodacom’s female employees will have more flexibility in maternity leave options

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Working in IT and communications can be tough, to the point where it can be quite a challenge for ICT workers to plan a family around their jobs. Vodafone knows this, and it’s for that exact reason that the global mobile operator decided to make things a little easier for expecting mothers.

Vodafone, the parent company to about 30 mobile operators across the globe including South Africa’s Vodacom, has just announced by press release that it would be one of the first organisations in the world to introduction a new mandatory minimum global maternity policy for all its female employees.

The new policy will allow expecting mothers to take at least 16 weeks of fully-paid maternity leave with full pay for a 30-hour week for the first six months after their return to work. This will apply to Vodafone employees in Africa, the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the US.

This move is in line with the results of research by financial services auditing firm KPMG which found that global companies could save up to an estimated $19 billion annually by providing 16 weeks of fully-paid maternity leave for expectant moms.

“Women currently make up a significant number of Vodacom’s workforce and as such it is a top priority for us to create an environment that enables them to raise a family and have a career,” said Matimba Mbungela, chief HR officer at Vodacom.

“By aligning with Vodafone we have been able to expand our standard maternity policy and give our employees the opportunity to choose an option that works best for them. By entrenching these policies we are able to not only attract but also retain some of the best talent in South Africa” he added.

Employees working for Vodacom in South Africa will now have the option of either taking advantage of this new policy or the already-existing six months fully-paid maternity leave option at the firm. Employees of Vodacom Mozambique, Tanzania, Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo will fall under the Vodafone’s policy.

Maternity-related issues have been under the spotlight lately globally as more women are pressured to either delay having kids in order to climb the ladder in their careers against fierce male competitors, or risk falling behind and losing their positions as they raise their families or to try and strike a balance between the two.

“Women account for 35% of our employees worldwide but only 21% of our international senior leadership team. We believe our new maternity policy will play an important role in helping to bridge that gap. Supporting working mothers at all levels of our organisation will ultimately result in better decisions, a better culture and a deeper understanding of our customers’ needs,” said Vodafone Group chief executive, Vittorio Colao.

[Image – Charlie Fripp]

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